What is Smart Textiles | Technology Involved in Smart Textiles

What is Smart Textiles?
There are various names of smart textiles. E-textile is the most popular name of this kind of textile. It is also called smart clothing, smart garments, electronic textiles, intelligent textiles etc. Smart textiles are versatile and offer new ways to look at textile and technology. It is a branch of technical textile. Fabrics of smart textiles are developed and manufactured to include technologies that provide the wearer with increased functionality. Smart textiles may revolutionary change is that they have the ability to do many things that traditional fabrics cannot, including communicate, transform, conduct energy and even grow.
Smart textiles
Fig: Smart textiles
Smart textiles can be classified into two categories. One is aesthetic and another is performance enhancing. Aesthetic examples include everything from fabrics that light up to fabrics that can change colour. Some fabrics can gather energy from the environment by harnessing vibrations, sound or heat, reacting to this input. On the other hand, performance enhancing smart textiles, which will have a huge impact on the athletic, extreme sports sector and military industries. It is even possible to maintain constant body temperature using phase- change technology. Smart textiles also widely used as a protective clothing to guard against extreme environmental hazards like radiation and the effects of space travel. The health and beauty industry is also taking advantage of these innovations. Smart clothing serves an important role in remote monitoring of chronically ill patients or those undergoing rehabilitation. It also promotes the concept of preventative healthcare. Now a days, smart textiles are also used for fashion purposes.

Technology Involved in Smart Textiles:
Various technologies are used in smart textiles. Common and important technologies names are given below.
  1. Fiber optics
  2. Phase change materials
  3. Nanotechnologies for fiber and fabric coating
  4. Thermo chromic materials
  5. Organic or plastic electronics
  6. Shape memory alloys and polymers
  7. Conductive fibers and yarns – metals, wires & conductive polymers
  8. Quantum tunneling composites for switching devices
  9. Bio materials
  10. Piezoelectric resistance
  11. Light-emitting polymers & diodes
  12. Photo voltaic and solar cells
  13. Photo luminescence
  14. Plasma technologies
  15. Photo chromic materials
  16. Holography
  17. Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags
  18. Global positioning and wireless communications
  19. Micro-electronic mechanical systems (MEMS)
  20. Micro encapsulation for therapy delivery